King Darius’ instructions to Governor Tattenai (Ezra 6:6-6:12)

“Now you, Tattenai, governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and you, their associates, the envoys in the province Beyond the River, keep away! Let the work on this house of God alone! Let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews rebuild this house of God on its site! Moreover I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God. The cost is to be paid to these people in full and without delay from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River. Whatever is needed, whether it is young bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, let it be given to them. Whatever wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require, let that be given to them day by day without fail. Thus they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of heaven. They may pray for the life of the king and his sons. Furthermore I decree that if any one alters this edict, a beam shall be pulled out of his house. He then will be impaled on this beam. That house shall be made a dunghill. May the God who has established his name there overthrow any king or people who shall put forth a hand to alter this decree or to destroy this house of God in Jerusalem. I, Darius, make a decree. Let it be done with all diligence.”

The decree of King Darius is very simple and clear. Let them build their Temple. The governor in Samaria and all the envoys should be subject to this decree. Leave the Jews in Jerusalem alone. Not only that, they should be paid to build this house out of the money from the treasury of the Province Beyond the River. In fact, they should be provided animals and materials to offer sacrifices of burnt offerings and grain offerings. They will pray for the king and his sons. Now the kicker is that if anyone alters this decree a beam shall be taken from his house. He then would be impaled on his own house beam. Their house would then become a dung hill. That is some punishment for disobedience. King Darius said that this should be done right away. There was a mention of an unnamed Jewish governor. Now we see the great dispute is about money.


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